Build is finished - Pictures included

NewCondoApril 29, 2012

Hey Guys, new member here. I just finished work on my new condo, and since I've spent so much time searching through these forums for ideas and information, I figured I'd post the results. To be honest, it's not 100% finished yet, I still need to finish the closet and put a shelf/cabinet above the bar, and add some undercabinet lighting in the kitchen, but aside from that she's done.

I really have no idea where to start here, so I suppose an explanation is as good of a place as any. About a year ago now, I purchased an unfinished condo unit in a building that has been converted from an old warehouse in the downtown area of my city. The condo building consists of over 50 units and is owned by a contractor who sells finish units, but I told them that the only way I'd buy a unit was if I could build it to my specifications and do the work myself, and they agreed. It's taken much longer than I could have ever imagined (largely due to me being swamped at work and the condo not being a priority), but finally I will be moving in within the next month (I hope...).

As I said, part of the reason I'm posting this is because I learned so much from this site so I wanted to say thank you in my own small way. Also I'm hoping you can provide me with some input on the next (and scarier) stage...decorating.

I've got a lot of pictures and information to go with them, so I will break this down into several posts. We'll start with a drawing of the floorplan, and I'll make subsequent posts for the individual areas, then tie it all together with some shots of everything

The unit is about 1000sqft and is set up as a studio apartment. At the time of purchase, there was a wall separating the space into a bedroom and living room, but I removed it in favor of a studio setup. It's not going to appeal to everyone, but as a single guy I really like it.

Aside from the walls and duct work/piping, the unit was 100% empty with a concrete floor. No cabinets, fixtures or anything. Some of the work was subbed out (flooring, tiling painting and plumbing), but the majority of it was done by me and my father.

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Here is the Kitchen, taken from the main room towards the door.

The cabinets are Telora Decor brand and are very good quality. The base cabinets are all drawers, except for the corner cabinet which contains a lazy Susan but has a swing out door made to emulate the look of drawers. The sink base was purchased as a regular 3drawer cabinet and was modified to house the sink and all of the associated plumbing. The trim piece under the stove was intended as a filler but was modified to be yet another drawer. The cabinets are built out an extra 3” and the upper cabinets are an extra 3” deep as well, which has come in very handy already. The extra depth also allowed me to use a full depth refrigerator, but it is recessed like a counter depth.
The top is solid surface, flawlessly fabricated by my father (you'll never find a seam). It is LG Hi-Macs, Arctic Granite. This same material was also used in the bathroom and in the laundry room.
The toe kick is actually a laminate that looks remarkably like stainless steel. When held up to the refrigerator, it matches almost perfectly. I really wanted to maintain the seamless look, so a special piece was also fabricated for under the dishwasher.

Here is a shot showing the faucet. It is a Ado Coriander faucet and seems to work very well, though I do wish it was a little larger. The tile backsplash is almost impossible to take a picture of. You really can't tell from the photos, but it is actually glass backsplash comprised of clear tile and satin tile (with white backing of course), and stainless. The grout is a special urethane grout that has imbedded crushed glass, so it has sparkle to it. Not enough to be distracting or obnoxious, but it really makes the tile pop when lit. I really wish I could capture it better in a picture.
By this point you may have noticed that there are no outlets on the backsplash, and no switch for the garbage disposal. If you look to the top right corner of the sink, you will see the air actuated button for the 1hp Insinkerator Evolution Pro. The next picture will explain the apparent lack of outlets.

Here you can see the angled plugmolding hiding in the recess of the cabinets. I do not like the way the stock plug mold has a lot of empty space on both ends of the strip, so instead of ordering 30” strips, I ordered 6ft bars and cut them to size on a bandsaw for a perfect fit with perfect receptacle spacing. Furthermore, since my uppers have a recessed bottom, a 30” would have needed to be cut down anyway, so this was more economical. I suppose most contractors would have just used a 24” up there, but no way was I going to settle for that.
If you look toward the bottom of the backsplash on the left, behind the paper towel roll, you will see that there is in fact a regular outlet there. The strip outlets are great for waffle irons or whatever you want to use and put away, but for stuff that lives on the counter, it's nice to have something down low, which is why I have outlets just above counter height on both sides, and the strips in the middle.

Here is a link to a gallery containing some more pictures: LINK

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 4:47AM
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Next we'll move to the wet bar. I was originally going to just have a dining table in this corner but decided that was boring, and the water lines were already in the wall, so I figured the heck with it, I'll just build wet bar.

I'm not real thrilled with how this picture turned out, so I may try to take a new one if I get a chance.
The front of the bar is clad with cream colored Coronado strip stone. It is not a panel, each piece is individual.
The top is black galaxy granite with a double stacked chiseled edge, to hide the custom built low volt LED light pucks and the fingers of the bar top support frame, which I'll explain more about a little later on. The barstools are Zuo Nitro stools, and are very comfortable.
The 5 smaller pendants hanging above the bar top and the 2 larger lights hanging behind the bar were just cheap but nice looking 50w halogen lights from lowes, but were all retrofitted with LEDs. The 5 bar top lights use custom made pucks very similar to what's used under the bartop (except these are line voltage), and the 2 larger lights feature special aluminum housings with 18w LEDs. The bar top lights are less than 4watts, but give the same output as the original 50w halogens.

Here is a shot showing the LED pucks washing the stone. These lights are dimmable, they are at about half brightness here, but appear washed out due to my poor camera skills.

This picture better shows the light washing the stone facing. You can also see the fingers of the bar top support frame here, they are 1” steel tubing and support the 14” of overhang from the face of the stone to the edge of the bar top.

Here are the bar cabinets, custom built by my father. At the end of the cabinets, closest to the viewer in the picture there is a space for a mini fridge or wine fridge. In order to provide a sturdy leg for the end of the bar, a 2x2 steel cage was welded and anchored down (more pictures of this in the gallery linked at the bottom of this post). Between the cage and the cabinets, there are 28 3/8” steel anchors holding this bar to the concrete floor.
The wall that you see above the bar in this picture will be getting some glass shelving with mirror backing for bottles. There will also be a narrow cabinet on either side of the shelving.

Here is the RGB lighting that his hidden below the strip outlet. It will do Red, Green, Blue, White, and just about anything in between, as well as do a slow or fast fade between the colors, or a seizure inducing colorchanging routine.

More of the strip outlet. This was a real pain, mitering the corners and getting the spacing perfect, but I'm glad I went to the extra effort. Continues along the entire length of the bar.

The bar top support fabricated from 4x6” heavy gage steel tubing with 1” fingers reaching out every 12 inches. Welded and flame straightened with holes for bolting it securely to the cabinets and into the wall where bracing was placed between the studs. When the granite guys came to install the top, they almost had kittens. I would feel comfortable parking a semi on this thing.

More pictures can be found here: LINK

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 5:00AM
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Finally we've come to the bathroom. This is an area where I may have gotten a little carried away. Funny how something can start relatively simple and just keep snowballing.

A peek into the bathroom from the main room

Standing in the doorway. The tub is an MTI Interlude 2 with all of the bells and whistles. If you're looking for a jacuzzi or airtub, look into MTI. They will move things around for you if possible, and have lots of custom options others don't. They also have a check valve system on their air holes, to keep water from getting in there and leaving yicky stuff.
The standard showerhead is a Hansgrohe Raindance Wallbar. It is controlled by the manual external valve seen right below it. The 6 kohler body sprays and the dual function Hansgrohe Raindance E rainshower head are controlled by a Moen IoDigital system, controlled either by the interface shown there or by a remote control. The Raindance showerhead has a lot of area so it really saturates you, and it also has a waterfall spout, which is kind of neat but nothing to write home about.
The tile in this bathroom is "Gondola Harbor" slate from American Slate. It is very dense, with a water absorption rate of .21%, putting it in the same category as porcelain (impervious rating). The tile guy was very impressed with how flat and straight the tile was, and how it absorbed very little sealer.

This picture shows the rainshower head much better. It also gives you a better look at the Moen control interface.
The column of water you see here falling out of the ceiling is the bathtub filler, a Kohler k-923 fed by a Moen IoDigital bath controller. It has presets for different users or fills, and you can simply press the button and walk away and come back to a full tub.

In order to attain some more countertop space and because it's good looking (for a toilet...), a wall mounted Toto Aquia toilet was used with a short Geberit carrier. The cabinetry running up the side is also custom built by my father. At the right of that picture you can see the thermostat for the heated floor (which seems to be a favorite on this forum...thanks for convincing me!)
The countertop on here and on the vanity is the same stuff used in the kitchen.

More custom cabinets, fastened into the walls and tub surround, as well as sitting on a welded steel frame. You can't tell by the picture, but there [b]is[/b] a sink below that faucet...
Believe it or not, it was neigh impossible to find square chrome door pulls. You'd think something that simple could be found anywhere, but I spent months looking and finally found a source in Australia. I was afraid I was going to have to make my own.
You can't see it because of the glare, but in the left corner on the backsplash there is an outlet and a switch that controls the heating pad behind the mirror, to keep it from fogging. The switch has a number of presets (5min, 10min, 20min, etc) so you don't have to worry about forgetting to turn it off.

Proof that there is a sink.
This faucet is an Aquabrass Stream faucet. I really loved this faucet when I first saw it, but it was way too expensive, so I kept looking elsewhere. I finally found it at a price that was only "too expensive", and not "way too expensive", so I went ahead and bought it. I'm glad I did though, it may just be a sink faucet, but it's really cool watching water just flow right out of the wall like that, and I think it's a great finishing touch for the room.

Standing in the bathtub looking towards the door and 46" Samsung 8000 series TV. I wasn't planning on getting such a big TV (was planning on getting only a 40"), but got a killer deal on this one, so I went ahead and got it. It is on an articulating arm that is built into a recess we put in the wall, so the TV sits flat against the wall like a picture, but can be pulled out and aimed directly at the tub. There is also conduit running through the wall and over into the computer desk area so I can hook it in to the computer. They sell wireless waterproof keyboards and mice now, so I can multitask by working and bathing at the same time.

The lights dimmed and the accent light on the tub surround set to red. Kind of a cool effect. White looks very nice but shows up purplish/blueish on camera for some reason.


More pictures: LINK

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 5:07AM
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Now that I've got the individual rooms/areas out of the way, here is the main room.

As I mentioned, the bar lights are retrofitted with LEDs, but the wall scones I designed and built from scratch. I machined an aluminum housing body and fitted it with the same LED pucks used in the bar lights. Then I machined some arms to fit onto the housing and used some 1/4" aluminum square material and milled a narrow groove down the length to allow a 1/16" thick sheet of translucent white acrylic to be slid in, then bent around to the other side.

The place is equipped with the RadioRa 2 lighting and shade control system, allowing me to turn on/off and adjust the lights and shades with the wall switches, remote keypads, or my iphone/ipad. The floors are Armstrong Canadian Maple and the walls are Olympic brand color Dover Grey, and the wall behind the bed is from the same palette, just one shade darker called Knights Armor. I don't remember the name of the white used on the ceiling and trim, but it was the whitest white I could find.
I'm not sure when I'll get around to it, but the plan is to eventually build a ceiling trolly system to suspend a television from, which will then be able to move freely about the room and telescope, rotate and tilt.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 5:09AM
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Looks like a great space you have created. Enjoy it!

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 7:22AM
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Very nice! The upgrades are fabulous!

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 7:58AM
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Ooh la la! Beautiful.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 2:03PM
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    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 2:35PM
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Pretty nice bachelor pad! Good work!

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 4:00PM
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Looks great! Just curious, is there any insulation on the exterior walls?

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 7:25PM
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Very nice! Consistent with excellent detailing. Bound to entrance and enchant the gender of your choice.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 8:12PM
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Wow it's fantastic! I hope you like having guests, because no one will ever want to leave. Love all the choices, from the backsplash to the bathroom light.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 9:50PM
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Great job! Thanks for sharing the finished project.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 9:59PM
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Thanks for the compliments guys. It's amazing how a project can start out one way and completely shift over time as you find new things to incorporate into the design. It's taken a long time and I did end up spending more money than I'd planned, but I'm pretty happy with how everything turned out.

Does anyone have any criticisms or suggestions on things I could do to improve the place, or ideas on furnishings or decor/colors? I designed the place to be very neutral so I could do just about whatever I wanted decor-wise, but I'm a typical guy and that type of stuff is well beyond me.

Robin, the walls are all very well insulated. I only actually share one wall with a neighbor, and it is a double studded plumbing wall (kitchen side). The other 2 sides are hallway, and the north wall is bisected by a stairwell that gets next to no use.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 2:13PM
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Nice! Very nice. Not my style at all but I can definitely see my 25 year old single nephew living there quite happily.

The folks over on the Gardenweb decorating forum can probably give you some great advice re choosing furnishings so you might want to repost over there.

But before you go, two things jump out at me that kind of bother me about your current furnishings. One is the desk that sticks out about 5 inches beyond the edge of the laundry closet wall. The other is that black file cabinet that sticks out a couple of inches into the closet door space. Having those two things not quite fit into their assigned spaces just looks/feels like poor planning to me.

If you can't find a desk that actually fits, have you considered putting a bookcase against the end of the laundry closet? Get one about the same width as that wall, and paint it to match the wall. Then, set a nice healthy green plant (maybe a corn plant aka dragon tree) in a nice big black ceramic pot on the floor on the right side of the bookcase (next to the corner of the desk) and that would totally disguise the fact that the desk doesn't quite fit. Add a nice healthy pot of philodendron on top of the bookcase on the left hand side for balance and a bright piece of artwork above the bookcase.

As for the black file cabinet, I'd just move it somewhere else. Maybe to a spot against the brick wall just to the kitchen side of that red support beam. Or, try turning the file 90 degrees so that the drawers face the bed. It might fit better that way tho you'd have to make sure that you have enough room between it and the bed to open the drawers.

As for furnishings, I'd suggest keeping them simple and uncluttered and stick with the black/grey colors for the main pieces. Maybe something like one of these: [see image #4]

Then, add impact with a selection of artwork with bright colors and bold graphics and maybe a brightly colored rug with a strong geometric pattern.

Finally, for the sake of your female guests, soften it all ever so slightly with a selection of green plants - nothing small, fussy looking, or frilly so stay away from things like asparagus fern, violets, lillys, and spider plants. Instead, try corn plants, thick leaved aloe vera, philodendron, snake plants, and certain bromiliads. All are also exceptionally easy to keep alive.

Then, keep everything pristine clean (something my aforementioned nephew would NEVER manage to do) and you'll have a bachelor pad that will knock the socks off your visitors.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 4:40PM
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It definitely says bachelor pad.

You need a big rug and a super soft sectional in a bright color. Do something unexpected for the color and style here. For the rug, find a really nice and worn looking antique oriental rug. For the sectional, don't go all chrome and leather. Fabric. And not the all too predicable primary red or blue. Maybe apple green or even fuchia. That would give it something unexpected and some softness.

Something like this, with lots of colorful pillows.

FABRIC SECTIONAL SOFA - FUCHSIA - XM-A46 from (But choose something better quality!)

This brightly colored antique Kirman from Reza's Rug Gallery at 1st dibs has a lot of the right color, but the age gives it character. It's an investment piece at 12K, but you can use it as inspiration to shop locally. The important element is that it's a very traditional style and lots of color, which gives your condo that bit of the unexpected contrast against all of the rest of the modern elements and lack of color.

If you have a local art college, there are plenty of low cost solutions to finding some large art that will work in the space. It just needs to have COLOR in a big way. The subject isn't important as long as isn't a naked lady on a bear rug. ;) This piece from Jose Basso, Nube en el Horizontez from Christopher Clark Fine art has a great feel to it, and it's a great big swathe of color.

I'd leave off all of that bar and bath lighting except when you're doing football get togethers for the guys or a bachelor party. It will probably appeal to your buds quite a bit, but it's a little Austin Powers for 99% of most females.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 7:57PM
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Bev, the desk is only temporary. Once I get more furniture moved in and figure out exactly what the layout will be, I will be building a custom desk. The file cabinet will likely be moved as well.

Plants are definitely in order. I really like the Corn Plant and Snake Plant you mentioned, I will have to get some of those. Are there any decent places to order plants online? I'm not sure how good of a selection I'll be able to find around here, especially on exotic or unique stuff.

GreenDesigns, I know you say stay away from leather and chrome, but I absolutely love the Le Corbusier LC3. I've looked at a lot of sofas, and I keep coming back to that. I actually found 2 Cassina loveseats for sale on Craigslist for a good price, but the lady has left me hanging for quite a while now and I don't think it's going to happen :(
Cassina LC3's seem rarer than hens teeth on the used market, you see an LC2 every once in a while, but I do not find those to be attractive. I really don't want to get a reproduction, but I'm not keen to pay $10k for a sofa either.

I think you may be right about the oriental rug though. I have been thinking of something bold and geometric, but one like you pictured would do a lot to soften the place up. I do plan on keeping the place very clean, and that might help provide a more lived in look.
That said, I do like this rug, though I think it's too small to be of use anywhere to me:

My sister's boyfriend is an amazing artist and right now he's working on a painting for me. It's a remake of this painting, depicting a scene from The Silmarillion, by JRR Tolkien, were Tuor discovers the hidden city of Gondolin. To me it conveys a sense of splendor and discovery and freedom and achievement.

I did ask him about painting a naked lady lying on a bed eating pizza while reading Atlas Shrugged, but I was kidding (mostly).

For color I'm thinking green, red, yellow and blue will go very well with everything. Part of the problem I have picking out art is that I like for it to mean something, somehow relate to me, or convey something specific. Doubtless I will have to settle for some paintings that are just there for color, but honestly the idea of random colors strewn onto a canvas seems pointless to me somehow. I guess I'm too much of a utilitarian.

I do wonder about the colored lighting being a bit over the top. It just looks so cool...

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 10:56PM
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